Grass-roots City Branding Through Creative Urban Interventions
Nowadays our society witnesses the increasing popularity of street art, mainly as a consequence of over-commercialized and over controlled urban living. Street art is a unique modern counter-cultural form of engagement within the urban realm but it is still seen by the authorities as an aggressive act on the established urban system. Even though constructions and corporate billboards arguably disrespect public space much more than the street artists, the question is still very widely discussed by the cities around the world: ‘Who own public space’, and how can a country be a true democracy without public space being actually public?
The aim of this research was to develop a grass-roots city branding strategy that promotes social inclusion through street art. This project combined different research techniques implementing qualitative and quantitative methods. The main findings cover the importance of residents` participation in forming city branding, emphasizing on bottom-up and co-creative approaches that allow a community to represent, create and therefore own the city brand. Also, discovering that a city that recognises and encourages street art is seen as a city that combines a positive set of values.
Street art creates a very unique personality for a city which in turn, starts to be associat- ed as a creative, open-minded and diverse. These values can definitely benefit any city brand rather than damage.